Cat Health and Medical Concerns

This collection of health & medical concerns should be brought to the vet. Bloody stools, lack of appetite, joint problems, mouth ulcers and more are asked about here.

Here are our reader questions and answers related to health & medical concerns. Just scroll down to read more about:

My Maine Coon Has Black Poo

My one year old Maine Coon has black poo, he has not been his self all day, sleeping more often, and not as playful like he normally is, what shall I do?

Hi Abigail,
You need to call your vet right away and get your cat in to be seen. He has a medical problem. It could be serious, and only a medical professional can give advice.

Here is a good rule of thumb: when you are worried enough to be searching online, and worried enough to post a question online, then there is reason enough to contact your veterinarian. That's what they are there for!

I hope it turns out all right,


Agree totally with Carrie
by: Sharon

and let us know how it turns out.

Blood In Feces

by: Ayelen (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Hello! I'm a bit concerned because my cat, Freddie, has defecated with a bit of blood.

I took him to the vet but she didn't pay attention to the matter. Otherwise he seems to be fine, but I wouldn't say I trust on the vet's capacity.
Thank you in advance,

Hi Ayelen,
Well, I don't know anything about this type of health question, and I wouldn't be fit to give medical advice.

But, I did find a very nice webpage all about it. Feel free to check it out:

According to the article, if you've just seen a bit, it's probably due to straining or constipation, maybe even non-cancerous polyps.

Of course, there are more serious possibilities, although those usually are accompanied with more blood, or an ongoing issue with blood in the stool.

Remember I'm just parroting the article. All I can say is if you don't trust your vet you could try another one?

I hope all is fine with Freddie!


by: Ayelen

Hello, Carrie. I am looking for another vet and I am going to take him to another consultation to be sure. Thank you very much for the info, I hope there is nothing wrong with Freddie.

My 4 Year Old Maine Coon Cat

by: Laurielle Cuthbertson
(Pittsburg, California)

Good morning. I have two Maine Coon cats, both 4 years old who are litter-mates, but my male mane coon Pugsley is an outside kitty.

I was walking my Daschund, and saw Pugsley having a bowel movement. I looked closely and it had bright red blood mixed with it.

I sometimes found that someone was pooping in our bathroom with the same indications, we have a cat box and yet this was going on, I realized it was him after that, he looks a little thinner lately, he seems alright, energy wise, I have seen him eat.

What could be wrong?

Hi Laurielle,

This sounds like a medical question for your vet. My cats haven't experienced it. I can only suggest that you call your vet and describe the symptoms right away.

There could be a bowel issue or perhaps a parasite issue, though again I only have a vague idea.

I hope everything turns out all right for Pugsley,

Best Regards,


Bloody stools
by: Helen

Your cat needs to be seen by a vet ASAP. All causes of bloody stools need medical intervention.

Just recently my outdoor cat had an awful smelling bloody diarrhea. She would not have survived without vet care.

It was a herpes virus, but dehydration was killing her. She had fluids daily for five days before she turned the corner.

Other causes include worms, rat poisoning, bacterial infections, viruses, hairballs, ingestion of a foreign object, ect. The list is endless.

All bloody diarrhea is dangerous, no matter the cause. Home remedies won't help.

Senior Maine Coon - Picky Eater & Concerns About Anesthesia

by: Kathy
(Grande Prairie, ab, Canada)

Symptoms Of Getting Old:

I have a 15 year old Maine Coon and recently he has decided not to eat his normal food and will only eat cheap food.

My other concern is that he has a lot of knots this year and I need to get them removed.

pretty kitty

Where I live my only option is to have him put out and be shaved. Is he too old for this procedure?

How do I get him to eat the good food again?

Thank you


Hi Kathy,
Many cats get finicky in their golden years. I think at this point in time the best thing you can do is offer him as much nutrition as you can.

Keep a small bowl of the good stuff around, or mix a little in with what he prefers. Most cats always prefer canned food. This may be the point in time to start making that a staple of his diet.

You should be able to find a high-quality canned food he likes. Also, it's great to offer him some real "people food" too. Cooked chicken and other freshies will give him the nutrition he needs.

I would recommend looking into some cat recipes and do a search on homemade cat food. You'll find some healthy choices he should go for.

As for the mats & shaving, it does put a strain on the kidneys to have general anesthesia.

It can be done at this age, however I personally wouldn't do it for the purpose of grooming. Only if it absolutely had to be done for health reasons.

When my Maine Coons go in for their vet check in the summer, the vet tech comes in, and the vet gives any mats they may have a quick shave.

It literally takes seconds. I can't imagine being told they would have to be anesthetized for that!

It sounds to me like where you live there is a policy due to "most cats" being prone to scratch or bite during a shave.

If your boy is the type to panic and struggle, that makes it harder. But I still would try to find a way to snip the mats without putting him out.

With one person to hold him, another to pet him & a third to make a quick run with the shaver those mats can be gone in 5 minutes.

Now that is just my opinion, and I do think you should defer to the advice of your veterinarian.

tiger maine coon cat

Does he or she think that a 15 year old cat should go under anesthesia for the purpose of shaving some mats? Ask if it is necessary.

You've done well to keep him happy and healthy this long, so keep it up!

All The Best,


diet and mats
by: Sharon
Hi there,
Would love to see pic of your kitty!

I have the same issues. I have three male ME Coons 4, 10, 13 years old. Will pass on what works for me.

For two younger ones I mix their preference with a premium food, 1/3 to 2/3 respectively. (We have a very creative way to keep the older one on one food and the younger two on a different food.)

I wouldn't do that unless absolutely necessary. We did had one of ours clipped by the vet when he was having tumor removed from his shoulder.


Two of ours have HUGE issue with this in the spring. The main reason is that they have always HATED being brushed. The older one LOVES being brushed.

I find that the pet clippers cannot get through the mats and the silky hair binds up the clippers so they constantly have to be cleaned out. The belly and 'armpits' is the prime problem area for us.

So, before they start shedding in the spring we clip their bellies and armpits to about 1" long to prevent mats. We keep them clipped short for the summer.

We learned the preventative clipping trick the hard way. Faced with major mats this is what we do:

1) With TWO people, one holding the cat still, VERY CAREFULLY with sharp scissors cut the very tippy top off of a given Matt. Generally when this is done you can pull the mat apart with your fingers, but this takes some time.

2)Start with the biggest tightest mats, especially those that are in the armpits as they can be painful for the cat.

3) Do a little each day; about 5 minutes at a time

solid gray maine coon cat

4) They are very smart. Talk to them and promise them treats while working on them. Ours know the word 'treat' (among many other words) and they learned quickly that putting up with 5 minutes of discomfort always leads to treats which makes them a lot calmer.

5) For the two that hate brushing, I always do a few brushes before taking them outside to their pen or to walk on their leash. That way they equate brushing with something fun.

Oh how I remember those days!
by: Linda
My Maine Coon lived to be 18yo. I only wish I could find another one just like him......... even after 4 years, I still miss him every day.

But I do remember as he started to age (15+ years), changes started to occur with his eating habits and the mats!

Worried about 1 kitten out of a litter of 5

by: Shannon Lensing

My Cat had kittens about 2-3 weeks ago, they were all fine up until a few days ago.

I'm not sure if this is anything to worry about but one of the 5 kittens keeps walking (wobbling) away from the rest when the mothers not there, and just meows and makes noise, then I put him back but he comes back out not so long after, is he not getting enough milk?

I tried to make the mother feed him by lying her down then putting the kitten next to her but the mom kitten gets up and walks away, I'm really worried that it's the only one not getting fed enough, because when I pick him up, he tries to suck on my finger.

I would really love some help please.

Hi Shannon,

Well, this is a hard one. I'm not a breeder, and I can't properly evaluate the situation. First, I assume that you have or soon will take the litter to the vet?

buff and white kitty in a box

If he's indeed not getting enough to eat, there are milk substitutes and feeding devices for kittens right at your local pet store.

Perhaps you should be feeding him? Just make sure you only use formula made for kittens.

This is definitely a medical question, and you need to contact your vet.

You'll need to get the whole litter vet checked, too. They need to be weighed, examined, etc. I don't know at what age this should happen, but again, your vet will let you know.

All The Best,


kitten # 5
my cat's first litter of kittens were 4 ct. the 4th kitten wouldn't nurse with other kittens. After 3 weeks it died. but found out the fleas killed him. take them to the vet immediately!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Feeding Kitty Babies

by: Rose
I had this happen so many times and yes check the flea situation. Usually the non-feeding kitties tongue is nearly white, that is end stage of the flea problem.

If thats not the problem you can substitute goat milk. Its available in the cold boxes but I found the canned type in baking supplies to be so much more convenient.

Goats milk is very well tolerated, its so much easier than the dry artificial cat milk replacer, and the kitties love it.

small ginger and white kitten

I mix the canned type 1part milk, 1/4 part water. Microwave to warm and use the syringe type (no needle) that you would give liquid medicine to child to administer.

Feed them laying on their tummy as if they were feeding from mom. Every 2 hours and always use a clean paper towel to make them pee and poop at every feeding.

Any leftover milk goes to the adults and none gets wasted. Growth rate is the same as mom fed.

If the kitty is rejected I take empty gatorade bottles fill with water and microwave til very hot, cap the bottle, wrap with a towel and surround the expatriated kitty with them, change every 2 hours.

I don't like the fake nursing bottles and neither do the kitties.

Well, the mats were always an issue, but addressing them when he was older was more difficult.

I was not about to put him under anesthesia just for mats.. I would've never forgiven myself if he had not survived it all because of MATS?

My daughter and I would work on them together with clippers. He was very laid back anyway, always was. It definitely took two of us due to his size.

His eating habits of WHAT he ate did not change, it was more like he would anything and everything ... including taking food out of our mouths as he approached 18.

He was losing weight, but he was a bottomless pit. Was there probably something medically wrong?

Very possible .... but at his age, I just couldn't see putting him thru any major medical procedures.

I'm just rambling and have no real advice for you. Others do though! Just love him and hug him every single minute of every single day.

They are such amazing cats. I envy all of you that have them.

Old age cats by: Helen
A valuable test for aged animals of any kind is a complete blood panel, one that includes a CBC, liver and kidney functions and of course, sugar.

One of the signs of diabetes is loss of weight despite eating large quantities of food.

Most diseases can be treated and progression slowed if caught early. Your vet should be your best friend.

My vet says that if a cat lives long enough he will eventually develop kidney failure. Cats originally in the wild did not live very long. They fell prey to predators or disease.

Now that they are pampered indoor pets they live a whole lot longer. This makes them subject to old age disease and complaints just like humans.

I never had a knotted coon cat because as kittens I groomed them every day to train them to accept it.

Kittens may protest but you can hold them down with one hand and groom anyway.

In about six weeks they came to me "asking" to be groomed because it felt so good.

I groom my grown cats twice a week, completely brushing them out using a pin bush and slicker brush. It only takes 5 minutes and the Bezzer Buzzer LOVES it. He sings and drools with pleasure. :)

Bezzer Buzzer :)
by: Linda
Love that name :) Bicky (also an unusual name because my daughter was only 2 when I got him and the breeder's name was "Dickie", so every time someone asked her what his name was, she said "Bicky".. so it stuck! :)

Bicky was groomed from a kitten also ... but it was towards his "geriatric" age that he wanted no parts of brushing his tummy or under his ears. He would tolerate everywhere else... just not underneath.

I started buying those "conditioning" wipe pads from PetSmart just to rub down his belly to hopefully lessen the mats before he got them. That seemed to help.

He probably did have diabetes or some similar condition that caused the weight loss no matter how much he ate.

Our vet IS our best friend, no doubt. But Bicky was also suffering with maybe dementia? at the same time.

He would totally ignore where his litter box had always been and go into a bedroom in the floor.

Something he had NEVER done EVER! I called his vet and described everything to him. He had a lot going on.

He knew he was loved and had a long good life. I now have 4 rescues and none of them are anything like Bicky......... our meeter and greeter of anyone to come to visit.

Most would say, "Is that a CAT?" LOL! Yep, all 25 lbs of him! So beautiful.

My daughter is now grown and married. She wanted a Maine Coon for her wedding present.

I looked and looked for the right breeder and she wanted it to be a brown/black tabby just like Bicky was.

I found them one and he's now almost 3 years old. I see him and my heart remembers our beautiful Bicky.

They named him "Ludo" after the big lovable "beast" from my daughter's favorite movie growing up, "Labyrinth". And what a beauty he is.

Again, rambling........ but Bicky was a huge part of my life (he's even in professional family portraits with us)... and to know there are so many other Maine Coon loves, and those that are now approaching older age ......

I remember reminding myself when Bicky got sick, they they are only on loan to us ....... we were very lucky that he was loaned to us to love for 18 years.

Hair Knots
by: Kim
I had a lot of patience with my cat. I would sit at my lawn furniture for an hour; carefully cutting off knots with a pair of very small sizzors.

Eventually, by the end of summer, most of the knots were removed and several of them naturally shed.

collage of maine coon cats

Ear Polyp??

by: Rachel
(New Zealand)

Okay, so have had my new gorgeous wee Maine Coon kitten "Dave" for 5 weeks now and we were treating what was thought to be an 'ear infection'....but now turns out to be a naso-pharyngeal polyp requiring expensive invasive surgery ('bulla osteotomy')

Has anyone else ever experienced this and seen the outcome of the surgery? Extremely upsetting! :-(

Hi Rachel,
I don't know anything about this condition, but I can see how it would be very upsetting! What is his prognosis?

Perhaps someone else has been through this or something similar & can share their experience...

We'll keep little Dave in our thoughts,

mix kitten moose


by: Kim
It is very important that you have this examined and removed and your cat given a blood test. It could be cancer!

by: Helen
First thing I would do is seek out another veterinary to see the tiny thing

Five weeks is too young to take them from their mother.

Make the best decision based on what is best for the cat. You might start by taking the kitten back to the cattery and get a different kitten, one with fewer health programs. Good breeders will do that.

Next time get one that is 8-12 weeks. You can tell so much about them at that age.

I wish you good luck and God's Speed.

Helen in Texas with the Bezzer Buzzer, aka Mr. Magnificent Himself.

Underweight Male

by: Caroline

My Maine Coon male is almost eight. He weighs ten pounds and I'm concerned about this.

He exercises a lot by running outside all day. You can see his ribs. Please let me know if this is common.

young tiger kitty


Hi Caroline,
This sounds like a medical question for your vet. You didn't mention whether your boy has lost weight lately, which is definitely cause for concern, or he's just small for a Maine Coon.

You can feel the ribs on just about all cats and dogs.

A cat who is starving will be visible bony when he walks, and the hip bones will be protruding noticeably. It doesn't sound like this is what you are dealing with.

To answer your question, if he has always been "petite" for a Maine Coon, and you are just now wondering what's going on I would venture to guess that he's fine and just small.

It's not typical for a male to weigh just 10 pounds, but it's not impossible, either. Just like in people, there are extreme exceptions to the averages. And they are still healthy.

But if he has lost weight, looks different, or hasn't been checked up lately you should definitely call your vet asap.

And I would even suggest you should give your vet a call with your concerns anyway.

Wishing you and your boy all the best,

Wheezy Kitties

by: Jenna
(Pensacola, Fl)

tabby kitty hiding in cubbyMy baby boy Dewey trying to fit into his cubby.

I have two Maine Coon kitties that are just under a year old, they have been wheezing when they are purring or sleeping.

I wasn't sure if I might be mistaking this for snoring, I have had a cat with asthma before but he never wheezed he just had asthma attacks.

I will be taking my kitties to the vet soon just to make sure but I was wondering if anyone else noticed this in their Maine Coon?

Hi Jenna,

I have not experienced this before. It sounds like a health issue, and not related to breed, so you are wise to go to the vet.

I have no experience with upper respiratory infections or asthma. I'm sure your vet will get it sorted out!

Thanks for the picture of Dewey, he is adorable!

All The Best,


Asthma in Maine Coons
by: Susan

Hi, I was reading your post and yes I have had cat Maine Coon kitty that had asthma and the vet said it was nothing bad and he could live with it and no meds needed.

You would hear him wheeze and cough every so often. This is okay and that cat will be okay. It is best to take to the vet to make sure.

by: Jodi Colpitts

My Willow does this. She has asthma and takes steroids for it when it acts up, usually mid winter and early spring are the worst for her, but the meds help.

I use an air conditioner in the summer and a ionizer year round. It really helps! Plus I bought a vac with 2 filters and I vac everyday. My vet suggested it.

by: Jenna

Thank you all!
They probably suffer from the same thing I do here in Florida, asthma from bad allergies. I'll take them in still and get a vet diagnoses.

I was thinking about buying a ionizer for my own breathing anyways so now I just have more of a reason to do it because it will be good for my babies too!

Thanks again.

Painless lump on the back

by: Damir
(Zagreb, Croatia)

I have a 3.5 month old kitten. A few days ago I noticed a lump under the skin of cats.

On the left side of the back in the height of the forelegs. Nodule is slightly smaller than peas, movable and painless. On the skin there are no changes.

oliver maybe maine coon


Hi Damir,
This is most certainly a medical question. As I have no veterinary training, I can't offer any counsel other than to call your vet.

It could be a benign or malignant tumor, or fatty deposit. Your kitten is at about the age of vaccinations, so I'm assuming you have or will visit your vet soon, right?



by: Helen
This may be the site of your kitty's first inoculation. Vaccines cause a localized reaction that will form a knot that resolves in a few months. If your cat has a microchip it may be that.

Like Carrie said, ask your trusted vet. He will sort it all out for you.

Skin tumors

by: Sharon
Our Elliot has had two tumors that started out as you describe then got larger. One started showing at the skin.

We had not removed and the histopathology thankfully showed them to be benign (and each was of a different type), but there is always the chance yours is not, so better to be safe than sorry.

Let us know what you find put from your vet.

Maddie Urinating More Often

by: Martin Clark

when we first got our cat we would only need to clean the litter tray once a day with a poo and a few wee's in it.

However recently she is sitting in her litter tray for a longer period and only urinating a small amount but doing it more often.

fluffy cat

When her tray is dirty with a few wee's in it she doesn't like going in it so she does it next to the tray on the matting, which means we have to clean it 3/4 times a day.

Do you have an inkling in to what has caused this?

many thanks

Hi Martin,

This sounds like a medical issue to me. It could be a bladder infection or something similar.

I think you should have her checked by your vet asap. Sitting for longer periods with only a little come out is cause for concern.

All The Best,

Overly Sleeping

by: Teresa
(Hinesville, GA)

Cat Naps:
How Much Should A Maine Coon Cat Sleep?

My cat is about 2-3 years old.

I received him about a month ago from a lady that couldn't keep him.

He has been sleeping, literally the whole day and only wakes up to go potty, eat, and likes to cuddle for about 30 minutes late at night and then goes back to sleep.

brown tabby cat

Then it's the same routine the next day. Should I be worried?

Hi Teresa,

Well, my first instinct is to say he's probably fine. Cats normally sleep an average of sixteen hours per day. Some more, some less. And much of that time is during the day.

However, there could be more to it. You've only had him for a month. I know my cats would be very "off" for a while if we moved house, much less if they went to a new home with a new family.

It's possible he's actually stressed, or even depressed. If that's the case, his health should be fine as long as he's eating and drinking well. And, you'll need to see him snap out of it.

Or, there could be a health issue, which I wouldn't be the one to give advice on. If I were you I would call the vet to explain just how much he sleeps. If you are concerned he'll get your kitty in for a check-up.

If the lady who had him couldn't keep him, I'm wondering if he's had a vet check lately, and if he's up to date on vaccinations. If he's bordering on lethargy this is an indicator of possible health conditions.

I would recommend calling his previous owner. Ask if this was typical behavior when he lived there, of if she thinks he may be adjusting, and "off." She should be happy to help.

Also ask her who his previous vet was, if any. Perhaps you could ask her if there are any records that need to be transferred to your current vet.

That gently gives here the chance to let you know if he's not had a check-up. If he has, your vet really does need those records, so your new kitty doesn't get over-vaccinated.

2-3 years old is quite young and spritely still. I would think he would be more active than you describe. (unless he's playing & exploring at night)

All The Best,

three coonies

Problems Jumping

by: Jody

My cat, Swiss, is about 10 years old and I have noticed recently that he is having problems jumping on to the kitchen counter.

Is this an age problem, radar problem?

Thank you.

Hi Jody,

Given his age I think it's likely that Swiss can't jump because it bothers him. I would absolutely check with the vet on this one. It very well could be the onset of arthritis or hip dysplasia. Your vet may want to do some tests.

You'll want to address his discomfort as soon as possible so he can get any meds he may need and start feeling like a spry kitten again!

All The Best,

Eyes and Nose - Discharge

by: Maddie

I just adopted a Maine Coon. She is 4 months old, and every day her eyes matte at the inner corners. Also, her nose is black and crusty around the edges.

I clean them daily which is no problem (she is my baby!) but I was wondering do you know what could cause this and is this something that I should be worried about?

Thank you,


Hi Maddie,
You should definitely call the vet. It could be a bacterial infection, viral infection, or respiratory problem.

I haven't experienced this before, but it is something to get checked out and treated. It won't go away on it's own.

Congratulations on your new little girl, and please send us a picture when you can!

All The Best,


Crusty Noses
by: Izzy

Hi -
I agree it's definitely worth checking with the vet in case.

I just wanted to reassure you though by telling you that my male coon Ben gets a lot of black crust around his nose and when I showed it to the vet he told me that it's nothing unusual and that he's "just a snotty boy"! So may not be a problem at all :-)

Izzy x

by: Maddie

Thanks for the advice/comments, she will be going to the Vet as soon as I receive her Vet records from the shelter I adopted her from.


by: Peter Chambers (Winnipeg MB Canada)

Our 2 yr old female has difficulty jumping any height.

She prepares herself to jump - crouched down on her hind legs, tries a few practice movements like an athlete then jumps barely making it to a chair seat while the two domestic cats can jump to the counter with no trouble at all.

fuzzy kitten

Are the back legs of a Coon not built for jumping? She can run and play with no problems, there is no sensitivity/pain when back legs are touched and moved.

Any suggestions?

Hi Peter,
This is a classic sign of Hip Dysplasia in cats. Maine Coons, in general should be athletic, strong and as agile as any other cat.

Some Maine Coon cats are so very big that they have trouble jumping "with accuracy."

My Leo does something similar when he is contemplating a jump to my lap or a barstool. But he does jump on most furniture without hesitation.

I know she doesn't display pain or discomfort when you prod or maneuver her back legs, but cats are masters at masking their pain; it's instinctual. I wouldn't trust her to let you know if it hurts.

I strongly recommend that you set up a visit with your vet to rule out hip dysplasia or any other condition he/she might suspect.

All The Best,

Adopted kitty won't eat at all

gray kitty jezebel

by: Amy Corlett
(South Africa)

Hi there. I adopted a Maine Coon cross from a shelter. He is about 2.5 years old and is neutered.

He came from a family with kids who had asthma, so they had to get rid of kitty upon doctors instructions.

His vaccinations are up to date. The kitty hasn't had anything to eat since Saturday (now 7 days).

I got his previous mom to come and visit him last night to see if she could coax him to eat, with no success.

He is using the litter box, and has passed a few very small solids. He is drinking water.

I have tried all sorts of different food options - various dry foods, wet foods, tuna, tuna water, etc. He's not interested in any of it.

I have also tried hand feeding him, as well as leaving food for him to eat all day.

He is in my spare bedroom, secluded from my other kitties, in a quiet environment. He's not hiding and loves affection, but I am getting worried that he's doing damage to himself by not eating at all.

What do I do? Force feed?


Hi Amy,

Oh, I'm sorry to hear about this! Poor boy.

If I were in your situation I would call my vet immediately. Explain the situation, just like you've done here, and get a recommendation.

He or she may suggest force feeding. A week is too long. You could just put a small bit of canned food on your fingertip & place it gently inside his mouth during one of your snuggling times. Perhaps this would stimulate his appetite.

I hope this passes & your new boy can get settled and happy in his new home. He's very lucky that you came along!

brown tabby cat on cat tree

All The Best,


Not Eating
I just took my cat to the vet because she was not eating. She went 4 days, would drink a little water.

She baffled the vet but her gave me antibiotics for her and within a day she was eating and 2 days later she was back to normal.

He thought she may have an infection of some sort even though she didn't have a temperature. I would take your new kitty to the vet.

They told me if she doesn't eat in the next 2 days it was an emergency (which would have been 6 days with no food).

Not eating
by: Missy/sweetie pies mom
We hope the vet had some ideas and things are getting better. Have you tried feeding in a different area?

Missy will only eat on the dryer. Buster doesn't like to share his food, and prefers not to eat with any other creature in sight.

Kitty won't eat
by: Kim
I have a finicky cat. He will eat Meow Mix and took a liking to sliced roast beef and sliced ham.

Please Help - Is He Dying?

by: Sarah Green
(Cape Coral, Florida USA)

gray cat laying on bedShodow Chagnon very sick
What I think is possibly a posionous spider bite

I have a 17 year old Maine Coon that we caught drinking water from a miracle growing plant. He's an indoor cat, but has access to our lani. He has always tried to eat plants, grass, flowers, etc..

When I found out that he was drinking this water, I knew he had been getting sick more often on dry food.

I got rid of the plants and bought wet food and tuna. He began to drink the juices, and water, but could keep the food down.

After about 2 weeks, I started mashing up his wet food, very fine and adding a little water to it and stopped the tuna. He was eating it.

Today, about 2 months later, I went to the store to get him his food. He's very vocal with me. When I got home. I washed out the dishes, and smashed up his food a refreshed his water.

At this time, he was vocal and prancing to his feeding area. Then about an hour later he suddenly projectiled watery food vomit. H

e then went to hide, but I noticed he had a lot of saliva hanging from his mouth to the floor.

I got a towel and picked him up wiping away the saliva and he urinated in the towel, in my arms. Since then he hasn't touched any food or water.

He was walking, but now is hiding behind my dresser. This is very unlike him. I have had him since he was 4 weeks old. He was lying on my bed when he got down and then vomited. I have never seen a cat do that.

My last cat, his sister, passed in 2005 of a stroke and I had to put her down. However, my toddler cat, lived to be 21 and the same sort of symptoms happened to him, except for the projectile vomit and saliva.

He could not have rabies, but we do have poisonous spiders and in the 4 years living here in SW Florida, only encountered one small poisonous snake. I'm not sure if the little lizards are poisonous or not.

Shadow, my Main Coon will pounce on spiders or bugs for the kill and loves chasing the lizards that occasionally get into the lanie. Is he dieing of old age?

He snores when he sleeps, I've heard that's a sound made when they have heart problems, he's growing weak and climbs to get up on my bed. I know his hips must be hurting him.

I am now hearing almost a gulping sound from him in his hiding place. This hiding is unusual.

Do you think he's dying and of what? Oh, very strangely, about a week or more ago, I caught him urinating in the laundry room on my sons dirty clothes.

Shadow is very close to me and my husband. My husband is the only man besides my father, he has ever warmed up to and it's actually more affectionate than with my father.

Shadow sleeps on my pillow normally, pressing against my head and routinely gets up with my husband in the morning, however, my husband had to go out on the road, he has recently started driving tractor-trailer, well he's been gone for a week and a-half.

I thought maybe he was have separation anxiety, because nothing else has changed in the normal routine, except my 6 year old has decided to sleep in his daddy's spot until he comes home. It didn't seem to bother Shadow though.

As I watch him, he has come out from hiding, sits and looks like he maybe shaking a little, he takes a few steps and then stops.

Do you have any advice? I can not afford the vets down here. Everyone wants money then and there and won't work with me on any kind of payment plan. I think he's only breathing one slow heart beat at a time. I don't think he's going to make it.

I did find a bite on his head, below the ear. in the thinning fur. He now wont move.

Please advise at your earliest convenience,
My appreciation and thanks,
Sarah Green

Hi Sarah,

Oh, this is heartbreaking to read, and I'm so very, very sorry you are having such a traumatic time. I'm also so sorry Shadow is having such a rough time.

I just don't know what is happening and what you should do. My only advice is to ask a vet, but you already addressed that.

When our pets have had emergency type problems, we've always been able to at least call the local vet, or local emergency clinic.

In some cases they have been able to give me advice without actually going in.

I wish I could tell you what to do. I just have no medical training. My guess would be poisoning. And with Shadow's old age, his organs would be less able to filter.

It looks like, based on the time-stamp, this was taken late last night. How is he now? Has he made it through the night? I'm so sorry, again :(



17 year old cat
by: Helen

Shadow is a very old cat. He needs to see a vet, but if that is not an option, there is nothing else can be said.

He could have diabetes, renal failure, bladder stones, heart failure, or hyperthyroidism, just to name a few. His urinating in unsuitable places is his attempt to get your attention.

I'm sorry Shadow is on a downward turn. Just keep him comfortable. He knows you love him.

What's Wrong with my Maine Coon
by: Kim

I am very sorry to learn of your cat's declining health. You are so lucky to have a cat that has lived for 17 years. He has experienced a lot in his life span; more than the average cat.

My Maine Coon died from cancer when he was 10. He developed a tumor in his nose which, as it grew, made him first snore, then slowly have difficulty breathing and swallowing.

Try getting a blood test. You will get the results in about three days and then, take it from there.

In my case, I let Nero live until I could see the distress in his eyes and decided "it was time." His misery was greater than his enjoyment for life.

The day after he refused to eat his favorite meal, sliced roast beef, I knew what had to be done.

cute buff kitten

As I said, he has lived a long and good life. When the time comes, you will know it.

I took several snips of his fur and wrapped them in plastic wrap to keep them as colorful as long they could.

I stayed with my Nero until he was gone. I used the "two dose" method which enabled him to lay on his side and quickly go into a deep and peaceful sleep.

The vet then gave him a shot that would stop his heart.

I placed my ear to his ribs and listened to his heart as it said good-bye.

It took me a year to lose the sense of emotions whenever I thought of him. He now rests in a cedar box on the front window sill, where he always liked to sit.

Perhaps this will give you an idea on how to keep your cat with you, even when he is gone.

Take all you learned about making his life happy and instill it in your next cat. That way, a part of him will continue to exist within you.

Cat's health
by: GinniP
My last cat Max (not a Coonie) had the same symptoms. By the time I got him to the vet he was in full renal failure and we had to put him to sleep.

Please take your cat to the vet and have him checked. It sounds like he could have diabetes.

Thank you all for your concern and help!
by: Sarah and Shadow
I would like to thank everyone for their answers, concern, advice and support. Shadow has pulled through being sick.

I got him to start drinking some milk and now he is content with milk mixed with a half a can of food or "mom's soup".

He's been gaining weight and seems sweet and happy again. Thank you for being there in our time of need. Sarah and Shadow

my grammas Maine Coon
by: Sara L
my grandmothers Maine Coon has not eaten for the last week no matter how much we give her. Last month she was barfing it all up and a little blood.

My grandparents refuse to take her to the vet because they are afraid of having to put her down. She is 17, her name is minoon, and I need advice ASAP.

Take him to a vet!

Cat's behavior seems to be changing

by: Dave Rowley
(Livermore, CA)

Our 15 1/2 year old Tuxedo cat's behavior has recently seemed to have changed. He seems to rush to where he wants to go now, when before, he never really hurried anywhere.

He also sleeps a lot more than usual. He's always seemed to be more of an outdoor cat, but now, will sleep all day, go out for an hour or two, and will come in, eat, and sleep the rest of the night.

I know he's getting older, but his behavior is just kind of strange.

Hi Dave,

Well, at 15 1/2 he's definitely a senior citizen. It could be one of two things.

First, he's just getting older. Sleeping all day and going outside for just a quick outing is normal for an elderly cat.

Second, there could be something going on with his physical or mental health. You are the only one who knows him well enough to decide if the behavior falls within "what should be considered normal for him."

It sounds unusual, but I just don't know his "usual". One thing to consider is whether this changed happened gradually or very suddenly.

It could be something as common as slight elderly senility or the onset of arthritis. Or, there could be something really bothering him. When in doubt, ask your vet.

Our vet has run bloodwork on our pets in the past when I knew something was "off" but couldn't pinpoint it.

Sometimes it came back as normal. So I was able to rest easier and stop worrying. Other times there were clear signs revealed in the bloodwork. Then I was glad we checked.

I hope all turns out well for your senior cat!

collage of cats

Cat Has Had A Very Strange Behavior Change

by: Faith

Last night she fell off the back of a chair. She hit the window and blinds.

She was very scared, but does not seem to have any physical injuries. But, her behavior has become very defensive.

She is in constant attack mode. Hissing and clawing at me She has never been like this. I am actually afraid of her.

She went to the bathroom in the living room. She hasn't eaten. I can talk to her and calm her down, momentarily.

She seems really frighten and threatened. What should I do to help her?

Hi Faith,

You need to get your girl to the vet immediately! All of the behavioral signs you describe point to injury.

She may not seem to have any physical injuries, but that is not something we as pet owners can determine. There could be head trauma, internal bleeding, organ damage, or worse.

When a pet doesn't limp or falter when walking, that does not ensure that they are OK.

Just as important is their behavior. Cats are hard wired to hide their injuries, out of survival. In the wild, the sick or injured are vulnerable.

She feels particularly vulnerable now, which is displayed in her aggression.

Going to the bathroom in the living room is another classic warning sign. She either couldn't hold it, was afraid to do the stairs, or was acting out for attention.

In fact, with the not eating, she's giving you every warning sign that she can.

Even if she checks out all right, this is a prime example of when to take a pet to the vet on an emergency basis. If there is internal damage, waiting could be life-threatening.

When you call, you'll want to explain your situation and tell the receptionist first off that you have a cat who may be injured and needs to be seen today. They will squeeze you in.

I hope it turns out all right,

Kitten Training

by: Marcy Steppen
(Enfield CT)

My 9 week old kitten has had his 1st distemper vaccine, wormed.

His poops are pasty with a little red (looks like blood) in it. Is this normal? He is playing, eating & drinking normally.

I am feeding him Purina kitten chow that the breeder fed him. What should I do?



Hi Marcy,
This is a medical question, and you should give your vet a call to ask about the blood in the stool. It is a cause for concern.

As for the food, I would recommend reading two of our popular pages about Cat Food Ingredients. I don't think the food is related to your kittens bloody stools, but it's still important.

All The Best,


Take kitty to your vet.

Vet visit
Get a stool sample from the litter box and take it with you when you visit the vet. Your baby is too precious to allow something bad to happen.

Taking my little baby first thing Thursday a.m. to the vet, to check out his problem. Too many mistakes in the house. He has a problem. Thanks for all the help. Marcy

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